If you follow all the rules, eat all the right foods, have the best quality prenatal care and exercise like a champion, will you have a perfect pregnancy? Nope, but chances are good you’ll have a really healthy one. Perfect pregnancy is a myth much like “perfect birth” and “perfect mom.” No pregnancy, birth or mother is perfect, nor should they be, but that doesn’t stop some women from trying to achieve maternal perfection. I think that’s dangerous and sets women up for competition, disappointment, frustration and stress. I think it teaches kids to have unrealistic expectations about their mother and about what it means to be fully human.
Let’s get real – Mothers are women. Women are human. Humans aren’t perfect. Ergo…mothers aren’t perfect. They come with histories, experiences and health factors that make them uniquely prepared to gestate, birth and raise their own unique children. That’s the beauty of motherhood and the complicated, multidimensional, intricate fabric of human life. Why would we want perfection when we can have all that?
Instead of aiming for some nonexistent measure of perfection, I hope women will work towards having the best pregnancy possible for them. They should consider all the factors – their health, relationships, employment, finances, friends, goals and community – then aim to make them the best they can realistically be. A healthy pregnancy for one woman might include a midwife, prenatal yoga and plans for a home birth while another woman might need a team of specialists and an intensive care unit. Neither woman has a more perfect pregnancy than the other. They simply have the one that’s possible for them.
For most women, the best pregnancy is the one where she has access to all the resources she needs to be well nourished, well cared for and well rested. It’s the one where her partner, healthcare providers and support people understand what she wants for her pregnancy and birth, consider her and her baby’s health and then work together to support them both. When a mother has all of those resources at her disposal, well then, maybe her pregnancy can be perfect after all.
Get Real Tips:
1) Take control of your health before, during and after pregnancy by eating well, exercising regularly and getting lots and lots of rest.
2) Choose the right prenatal care for you and your health. Healthy women with no specific risk factors or complications may get the most appropriate healthcare from a midwife. Women who have complicated health histories may need an obstetrician or other specialists.
3) Don’t compare your pregnancy with anyone else’s and don’t judge other mothers for their pregnancy choices. You do you. Let other mothers be themselves.